Argyle, William John, 1931-. The Fon of Dahomey: a history and ethnography of the Old Kingdom

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Publication Information

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: The Fon of Dahomey: a history and ethnography of the Old Kingdom

Published By: Original publisher Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1966. [7], 210 p. ill., map

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication by W.J. Argyle

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2019. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Fon (FA18)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Historical reconstruction (174); History (175); Cultural identity and pride (186); Chief executive (643); Form and rules of government (642); Territorial hierarchy (631); Administrative agencies (647); External relations (648); Inter-ethnic relations (629); Acculturation and culture contact (177);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This book discusses the history of the ancient West African Kingdom of Dahomey from its origin on the plateau of Abomey to its territorial expansion down to the coast. The focus is on links between powers of the Dahomean monarchy and the local dynamics of kinship groups, religious institutions and village life. Combining data both from historical sources and contemporary ethnographic accounts, the author argues that Dahomey culture and society can be understood only by reference to the history of the kingdom including changes in the territorial scope and political powers of successive monarchs. The despotism of each monarch was, for example, historically related to the strength of local institutions in counter checking royal prerogatives. This suggested that earlier sources which described Dahomean kings as absolute despots were not entirely correct. They tended to undermine the agency of individuals and cultural institutions in mediating the effects of royal powers on village life. The author discusses activities of several institutions, including Village Chiefs, mutual aid societies, descent groups, best friends, and cooperative work groups, which enabled village communities to remain greatly autonomous while also maintaining a degree of allegiance to the ruling monarch.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 6

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. fa18-006

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: Based on thesis, Oxford University Includes bibliographical references (p. 201-207)

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document not applicable

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Historian-4

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. Teferi Abate Adem

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1625 – 1960

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Benin (Dahomey)

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Fon (African people)//Ethnology--Benin//Benin--History

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